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Thread: tenons on long parts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Collegeville PA (30 min west of Philly)

    tenons on long parts

    I'm building a double dog crate to make the boss (wife) happy and to dress up the back corner of our living room a bit where the two ugly metal crates currently live. This is also a good chance for me to practice some skills on a project that isn't as critical / fussy, and use up some "laying around the shop" lumber - black walnut top is already glued up, black locust from an unused fence post was milled for the rails, and various shorts of various oaks was milled for stiles and dog doors. Aluminum black balusters from an old deck build will be used in between stiles.

    4 square legs will be joined by rails to create the basic frame. Between the rails I will have what I guess would be called stiles to add support and give me a place to swing doggy doors etc.

    The crate will be 80 inches wide, so I have 4 long rails (front top and bottom, back top and bottom) prepared.

    In my past projects, I have only really cut tenons on parts that are small enough to easily handle on (say) the table saw (or similar).

    In this case, I ended up clamping all 4 rails edge-to-edge, clamping on a straight edge, and then plug routing one half of the tenons on one side... then the other side... then flip the assembly over and do the same on the other side.

    While this actually worked nicely and all the tenons came out consistent, centered, and needing only minor adjustments with a chisel and scraper card, I was wondering how you all would typically handle this job.
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Perth, Australia
    Tenon saw.

    Regards from Perth


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Austin Texas
    ^^^^+1. And use a carcase saw for the shoulder cuts just because I have one . I bet that was not the answer you were looking for .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    I use a Tenon saw and clean everything up with a router plane, Paul Sellers style. I used to use a dado set on the table saw but the hand method is quieter and usually faster if you include setup time. Your 80" length might make the saw operation awkward.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  5. #5
    I do all my tenons wirh a dado blade on the table saw. With the workpiece laying horizontal, lwngth is a non factor.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Sice you posted in the Power Tools sub-forum I'll say tenoning jig. Bandsaw, router or dado stack also work.
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  7. #7
    Depending on the piece size, I'd either make a jig and plunge router mortises to use a loose tenon, or I'd use the edge guide on my router and cut the 4 sides. I've done the later before for bed rails (using both pieces and cutoffs from them to support the router on the narrow edge) but I haven't had a piece to do the first option with yet. The way I see it, by time the extra work in making that jig pays off, I better have a lot of tenons to cut, or I better have a lot of setup time that I'm saving.

    The other option is that sweet looking jessem doweling jig I've been eyeing up. Looks like a poor man's domino to me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    My old style: shoulder cuts with the table saw, cheek cuts with the bandsaw. My newer approach: Domino.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Band saw for lengthwise cuts and hand saw/plane/chisels to refine them. Use appropriate auxiliary support for the workpieces. Tenons don't need to be "pretty"...they just need to be snug in the mortise and have clean shoulders where the piece meets it's mate.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Lancaster, Ohio
    radial arm saw with a dado blade set and a stop block
    Good luck

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Putney, Vermont
    Bob, I have to do precisely the same thing, except my 2x4's are 65 and 36" long with 3.75 long tenons.

    I will do as either Derek orJim have suggested. Probably use the tenon saw if it has the depth.

    Not looking forward to the through mortises in the legs. #.5" through.

    The last tenons I did on the sliding compound miter saw. Multiple cuts and cleanup with a chisel.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Los Angeles, California
    Too long to do in a table saw w/o an accurate sled. Too long to use a tenoning jig on the table saw standing up. Too long for a band saw for (it would be really awkward) but could be done safely with auxiliary support.

    I Would do it with a radial arm saw and dado blade if a power tool was required.

    The best way would be a tenon saw and split the cheeks with a chisel ala Paul Sellers.

    Fun project.


  13. #13
    I would use the RAS with a dado blade and then clean them up with a shoulder plane. That's one of the few things I still use the RAS for. But quite recently I got a domino XL so I would probably just use it now. But I've done a few queen sized beds and used the RAS to make the tenons on the stretchers for the head board and foot board.

    I have not had good luck using my sled on the table saw with big pieces.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Northern Virginia
    Shaper or tenoner, but I concede that is not typical.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Toronto Ontario
    Sliding table shaper... Rod

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